by Gwendolyn Valerius
I’ve seen the phrase “the write mindset” a few times, and I’ve even used it for a post in the past. But the more I see it, the more I realize, it isn’t entirely true.
On the one hand, arbitrarily stopping yourself from putting words on the page can result in failure: failure to finish, failure to create an impactful story and engage an audience eager to connect with you.
But there are times when stopping doesn’t equal failure. Times when stopping might be the best thing you can do for your story, or your sanity, LOL. These are times when the act of writing has become more of a burden than the “soul work” it’s meant to be, or when you find yourself writing the same sentence a million different ways.
The trick is to understand whether you truly need a break, or if you just need help! If you’re feeling frustrated by the writing process and are considering giving up, ask yourself:
“Is it my mindset, or the manuscript?”
If personal circumstances have exhausted your mental energy and left your thoughts on everything but your story, it’s likely time for a break—and that’s okay! Taking time to get yourself in a positive mental state is not only good for you overall, but it clears your mind and opens you up to the story you’re meant to write, too.
Just be mindful about taking the right amount of time off. Stepping away from your story can absolutely provide a clearer vision of all its elements, but leaving it for too long can have the opposite effect. Spending too much time outside of your story can sever your connection to it and make it that much harder to continue. Avoid this by defining the length of time your break will be, and sticking to it!
If your frustration is a result of a specific story issue, or you just don’t know what to do next, don’t give up—get help! An outside perspective on your work from a writer friend or a writing coach can help you nail down what’s working and what can be improved. They can also serve as accountability partners to your writing process.
Because let’s be honest, writing is never easy. Even when you know exactly what you need to write, there will always be moments that leave you discouraged and questioning whether you should continue. And it’s in these moments where having the right support boosts your enthusiasm and keeps you motivated to continue.
To get the most out of these partnerships, always choose someone who can commit to supporting you in the way that you need support, and be okay with releasing them if you find it’s not working out!
Whether it’s your mindset or your manuscript that has you thinking of giving up, understand first that leaving a story does not automatically equal failure. Take some time to reconnect and remember why you started the story in the first place. Whether you decide to take a mental breather, brush up on writing techniques, or stop your story for good, be kind to yourself and choose the option that leaves your mind at ease.